How Much Does the AC Affect Fuel Mileage

Your car’s air conditioner is an important accessory – it helps keep you and your passengers comfortable and safe during hot weather. However, it’s operated by your engine and places an additional load on your engine when it’s running. That means it increases your fuel expenditure (decreases your fuel economy). How much does it affect your fuel mileage? The answer is: a lot.

How much will my fuel mileage be affected?

Note that there is no single answer to this question, as there are a number of different factors in play. The actual temperature outside will have an effect, as will the size of your engine, the make and model of your car, the condition of your air conditioning system and many others. However, the US EPA notes that running the air conditioner in very hot weather can increase your fuel consumption by up to 25%, and that the effect of using the AC in a hybrid or electric vehicle can be even greater.

The best defense against decreasing fuel economy is actually pretty simple – use your windows at lower speeds, and turn on the air when you hit the highway. Of course, open windows increase drag, which also reduces fuel economy, but the impact isn’t as great as running the AC at lower speeds.

Ensuring that your air conditioning system and engine are properly maintained will also help improve your fuel economy. Regular oil changes and clean air filters can do a great deal to improve your fuel mileage. Ensuring that your AC system has the right level of refrigerant is also an important consideration here.


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Rigoberto

11 years of experience
739 reviews
Rigoberto
11 years of experience
Hyundai Entourage V6-3.8L - Car surges when air conditioning is on - Chicago, Illinois
Very helpful and efficient!
Hyundai Sonata - Starter - Chicago, Illinois
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James

8 years of experience
128 reviews
James
8 years of experience
BMW 528i L6-3.0L - Car surges when air conditioning is on - Atlanta, Georgia
James was awesome. He has a great personality and was very thorough. He gave me preventive tips as well

Casime

12 years of experience
56 reviews
Casime
12 years of experience
Honda Accord L4-2.4L - Car surges when air conditioning is on Inspection - Willingboro, New Jersey
Excellent customer service and is very knowledgeable. I recommend his services to everyone.

Jamahl

20 years of experience
830 reviews
Jamahl
20 years of experience
Dodge Caravan V6-3.3L - Car surges when air conditioning is on - Orlando, Florida
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